TLS signed “A. Einstein,” one page both sides, 8.5 x 11, embossed personal letterhead, January 14, 1954. Letter to Walter Stern, in full: "I agree fully with your critical remarks about the Russian regime. One could add considerably more to it: the mendacity of the political trials which are nothing but legalized murder, the complete gagging and deprivation of the individual and political minorities of any civil rights, the deliberate use of the lie for political purposes (to a much higher degree than in other countries). But all this is no justification for what is happening in our country under the slogan 'Fight against Communism.' The 'Communist Menace' is used here by reactionary politicians as a pretext for the fight against civil rights. The people in general are too misguided and the intellectuals too intimidated to defend their constitutional rights effectively. And the individual politicians are only motivated by their momentary personal advantage and rarely or not at all by their—sometimes good—judgement about what should be done. We have progressed far toward the establishment of a fascist regime, and the similarity of the general situation here with the one of Germany in 1932 is striking. Just wait until the much dreaded depression should come! Why are the British not afraid of their Communists?" In fine condition.
The mention of “political trials” is likely in reference to the Doctors’ Plot, the final show trial of Joseph Stalin’s prolonged anti-Jewish campaign. In January 1953, a group of nine predominantly Jewish doctors from Moscow were accused of conspiring to assassinate various Soviet leaders; following Stalin’s death in March 1953, the new leadership dropped all charges when it was revealed that the accusations were false and the doctors’ confessions were given under torture.
Einstein’s comparison of the American Red Scare to the rise of fascism in Germany in 1932 is grounded in personal experience. A vocal opponent against militant nationalism, of which he deemed ‘the measles of mankind,’ Einstein was soon no longer safe in his home country. He emigrated to the United States in 1933 due to Hitler's rise to power and, not long after landing at Princeton, began using his influence to help fellow Jews flee from Germany and establish residences abroad.
As an American citizen, Einstein was targeted by the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover for his outspoken views against segregation and nuclear armament, in addition to his political identification as a democratic socialist. Amid the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s, Einstein denounced the ongoing congressional investigations by saying that ‘every intellectual who is called before one of the committees ought to refuse to testify.’ Remarkably, by the time of Einstein’s death on April 18, 1955, the FBI had amassed a dossier over 1,400 pages long.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.